Washington County. Pennsylvania and Virginia both recognized claims for farms up to 400 acres on these lands, and land was offered as a reward for military service after the French and Native American War. Thousands of claims were filed.
The Buffalo Creek valley, similar to the rest of western Washington County, was devoid of mountains. However, it was rugged, hilly, and uneven with deeply forested valleys and irregular uplands that had the potential to be highly fertile and productive. Early settlers were faced with the challenge that this wilderness presented, as well as the challenge facing the native peoples that had been pushed into the area. The first records of settlers on Buffalo Creek were in 1770 and 1771. Mr. James Caldwell is recorded as one of the earliest settlers.[ Most settlers were of English or Scotch-Irish decent,] with names like McGurie, Carpenter, Williamson, Smith, Taylor, Wells, Carlson, and Doddridge. .
During the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), Washington County (known as part of Westmoreland County until 1781), was one of the most exposed areas of frontier. The closest regular continental troops were at Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh), Fort McIntosh (Beaver), Fort Henry (Wheeling, WV), or Holiday’s Cove (present day Weirton, WV). The settlers were compelled to defend themselves from attacks by British- allied Native Americans from across the Ohio River. Present day Washington County had approximately 40 frontier forts, making it one of the most heavily fortified counties in United States history. Most of these consisted of a “blockhouse” or some kind of fortified house. Of these 40 forts, at least eight were located in the Buffalo Creek watershed. These include Wolff, Stricker, Taylor, Williamson, Lamb, River, Miller, and Doddridge forts. Teeter’s Fort in Independence Township and Reynold’s Fort in Cross Creek Township were located near the watershed’s northern boundary.